How do you recommend doing lessons?

Hello everyone, this is my first post. So nice to meet you!

I was just wondering how you all prefer to do new lessons. Should I get everything from the previous level to guru first or should I just do lessons as soon as they come up? I just see a lot of people leveling up at an incredible pace.

Also, while I’m at it, I’ll ask the other questions that have been on my mind.

  1. Could you give any advice on how to remember faster, preferably without imaging something (I have aphantasia and whilst I can still make an image it’s always black and shades of dark grey and almost non existent)

  2. Higher level people, did you notice it get easier to learn new words and kanji the further you got? Did your memory improve in general?

Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your answers!


Depends on you, no need to rush. If you get everything to guru, that’s a minimum of 10.5 days a level, so 630 days for the whole thing. But most people do x lessons a day (usually 10-20).

You might not need to imagine things to remember better (though I have no experience without it, so of course, everything with a grain of salt). The end goal is either way to remember without any mnemonic, and use mnemonics for the scenarios when you forget. Therefore even if your technique is slower, that’s ok mostly. Try focusing on assigning the meaning in your head to the radical breakdown. That will help a ton in the future most likely.

Funnily enough, first the readings were harder for me and the meanings were easier, then after a while, because kanji usually sound like other, similar kanji, but have absolutely no meaning connection like that, reading gets way easier while meaning gets harder.


Lessons are up to you but I’ll tell you how I did it. Initially, I did everything as they came, that didn’t last long, it became too much and I dreaded doing them, I was inconsistent for so long, trying different things, trying 10 a day, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 at different points, it all fell through, but at some point I just stuck to 20 because that’s what the community recommends for the most part, and I do it every night now even if I have to force myself. That being said, 20 isn’t enough to go the full speed, I’m able to do that because I use a reorder script to do my radicals and kanji at the necessary times to make sure I can level up with no down time.

For remembering, at one point I stopped reading the full mnemonics, I just check what radicals the kanji are made up of and make some connection in my brain to come up with the meaning, sometimes I do use them as a little basis, but sometimes the mnemonic has some unnecessary stuff so I cut out a lot. I’m pretty sure you can make connections with your brain even with aphantasia, since it doesn’t require a mental image.

Easier… I guess maybe? It’s kind of the same every level to me, but maybe compared to the beginning when I was new to the language, I’m certainly used to it now. Go take a look at the kanji in the higher levels, it looks scary, right? You won’t feel that way for long though, the radicals seriously do their job, and you don’t view kanji as random lines anymore.

As for my memory, well, you should definitely expect to forget some of the kanji you burned in the past, I have definitely, but I don’t have any plans to unburn them at the moment, maybe when I’m done with WK, but where I am now, I think the most important thing is to get familiar with the kanji, not use WK as my way of memorizing every kanji for life. Sure maybe some kanji like 人 are unforgettable, but some just might not stick until you’ve encountered it in reading a few times.

Eventually you’ll have to start reading, I read my first full JP manga at level 20. And now I’m translating a manga, it’s still not easy, but the progress is there, I’m even familiar with kanji that I haven’t even learned in WK yet because of reading.


I put aphantasia into forum search and found a bunch of topics discussing this. Hopefully any of these can help. I only picked the top results so there might be more full on topics about it. Hopefully one of these have some tips that might work for you. :smiley:

Aphantasia and memorization

Having aphantasia means “imagining” doesn’t work

Mnemonics and aphantasia (lack of a mind’s eye)

Do people with Aphantasia have a hard time learning with mnemonics?


I’m trying to get to 60 as fast as possible. My goal is to develop a fundamental understanding of Kanji, not to remember all vocabulary words necessarily, though nice if it happens. This is because I want to start language school right after and don’t want to waste time paying a school to teach me how to read like a Japanese elementary school student :slight_smile: I should be able to manage that on my own

If you have similar goals, I recommend rushing through the lessons and get things wrong until you master them. I use the wrong answers extra sessions and recent lessons a lot, meaning that I do a lot of extra work, but this seems to be as effective as going through each lesson slowly.

I really don’t want to rely on mnemonics so putting myself through this sort of punishment is working best for my goals.


If you want to go fast, do your new radicals as soon as they’re available. The same hour, if possible. Guru them as fast as possible, then do new kanji reviews right away. Vocab you can do at your own pace. Of course, that’s all if you want to go fast. Which you don’t have to. Going fast means more reviews per day. For me, going as fast as possible has always been good for motivating me, but for a lot of people, going faster isn’t worth the extra reviews.

I would recommend doing the 0/0 Challenge, which is a challenge to get both reviews and lessons to 0 at least once each level. It’s not required or anything, but it’s a good motivator to keep things under control, especially if you want to go fast.

I also have aphantasia, and so I usually made up my own mnemonics for kanji. It takes a bit of time to figure out what works for you, for me it was particularly helpful to recognize when certain radicals appear in a lot of kanji with the same reading (for example, 販, 坂, 版, 飯, and板 are all read はん). As for actual mnemonics, I benefited from simpler ones, the simpler the better. Feel no need to actually use the names of the radicals present if it isn’t helping you.

I definitely noticed it getting easier. It takes time to learn how to learn, but once WK is part of the routine, it becomes pretty easy and natural to put more and more time into it, and reviews go by much faster. I’m currently redoing WK, but when I did it the first time, my time on level steadily decreased, and my accuracy didn’t degrade at all as I got into the upper levels. Good luck! I hope you find WK helpful! Feel free to ask the community any questions you have <3


Is this because you want it to be more intuitive later on? Because that’s a good goal for sure, but even when you do use mnemonics, as they become more solidified in your memory, you won’t need to think of the mnemonic every time. It’s just a tool for the initial memorization. Where mnemonics do help you down the road, as opposed to just memorizing based on how they look, is with those pesky kanji that look very similar (i.e. 旅 vs 族). When you memorize based on radicals, that’s less of a problem. But there’s definitely a place for both ways!


Thank you all for the great detailed replies so far! It’s been really helpful.


In addition to the threads linked above, if you think the experience of seeing an image would help at all to reinforce the mnemonics, there’s the AI image thread just created two weeks ago. It’s too new for me to know whether my advice is helpful at all to you or not.


Remember that the people who post regularly on the forums are more likely to be the “power users”, so to speak, and you don’t have to try to go as fast as possible. A more casual way to approach lesson timing, if you prefer, is to spend a bit of time experimenting to decide what rate of incoming reviews you can cope with and then use that to set a fixed size of your Apprentice pile. I try to keep my Apprentice pile to 50 items, so if it drops to 45 or below then I’ll do a lesson batch, otherwise I don’t. Radicals are a sensible exception, though - those are only really half an item in terms of reviews because they don’t have a reading, so I do all the radicals as soon as I’ve done all the vocabulary on the previous level. I also don’t use a reorder script because I think I’d probably neglect vocabulary if I let myself.


I am a slow student

I keep my apprentice below 90 and only do lessons when they are below that number, it has been almost a week without any lessons for me.

I dont rush anything and I don do those crazy ideas some here will give to do a lesson “as soon as this or that item hits guru or something”.

I just do review as they appear. Also, I dont follow what some here say to do reviews exactly 4h or something hours later. I do around 12pm and 10pm two batches of reviews. That’s it.


I think this thread can be summarized as “do as much as you feel comfortable with, but more importantly be as consistent with that as possible”

Welcome to the Community!

Wow, that’s a pretty low number, but I’m also slightly jealous of how few Apprentice items you have…


For what it’s worth, I am also a fifty Item apprentice person, but I don’t really actively stop doing lessons until the number hits mid-sixties. I just do 72 lessons a week now, and that keeps it at about 50 in apprentice.

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howdy! the way I’ve been doing lessons is aiming for 20-30 a day, with a batch of 10-15 in the morning soon after I wake up, and then when that batch comes up for its first review I do another 10-15 lessons. sometimes I forget and only do the first batch of the day, but I still feel like I move through the levels fast enough (ignoring the past month where I didn’t do any wanikani)
sometimes I make my own mnemonics because I like to have the reading and meaning in one sentence. I’ll then repeat it a few times to myself if I’m struggling to visualize it (don’t have aphantasia, but some of the more abstract concept meanings are tough to put an image to)


I agree with this. I used to do reviews as “on time” as possible, but I found that the batches method work better for my long-term memory.

For example, if I make 1 mistake in a review (especially for an early apprentice item), there’s a chance that the next review will only contain that 1 single item where I made the mistake. Passing a 1-question review would be easier than a multi-questions review, but then the item doesn’t stick to my mind so well because the review is too easy and not so memorable.

If I do the reviews in batches, I won’t be encountering a 1-question review. Of course the chance of making mistakes is higher. However, if you do pass the challenge, the item sticks better in the long term memory since the effort taken to remember the item is more memorable.

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I like to do as many lessons as needed to keep apprentice items around 100. I think that in general, the more you already know the easier it gets to learn new kanji/vocab. A lot of readings (and meanings) are derived from radicals used in the kanji, which leads to looking at kanji and getting a feeling for the reading or meaning (that is often correct). Also the selection of vocabulary on WK is designed to reinforce the kanji (rather than being based on common word lists or anything), so if you envision learned items as nodes in a web, the more nodes there are the more lines of reinforcement can be drawn between them. This is just how I like to think about it though, I’m no neuroscientist.

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I’ve always done lessons as soon as I get them, and this is what my items look like atm:

My review forecast looks like this:

I personally like it this way, so if you can handle it I would recommend doing it asap! But like the rest has already said, do things at the pace you feel comfortable with and then create the discipline to stick with that every day.

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Just remember, that when those items come in for burn reviews those reviews will come in thick and fast in addition to all your other reviews! There won’t be anything you can do to slow down your reviews then, the only way to control the pace of burn reviews is the pace you take lessons now! Unless you have lots of extra time, it may become overwhelming! Expect nearly double the amount of time in reviews each day :grimacing:


I know the risks haha. But I’m highly motivated and disciplined, and I’m used to a lot worse from my full-time studies + full time job. I’m not studying anymore atm, so I’m enjoying this pace!